Search This Blog

Saturday, 31 December 2016

What are the Yorkshire Dales Really Like?

We are privileged to live right in the heart of The Yorkshire Dales.   That means a lot to us but may mean little to Blog followers around the world - or even from other parts of the United Kingdom.

I know this as I spent my first 8 or nine years in the south - in and around Guildford, Surrey in fact.   In those radio days my impression of 'the north' was of a foreign land probably inhabited by aliens who did not wash.   My father's posting to Leeds, Yorkshire was a bit of a shock to a southern softie.

I need not have worried.   Yorkshire, I soon discovered, was beautiful - even then.   Of course there was industry and grime and the industrial revolution was in its derelict death throes.

Well, what about the Yorkshire Dales?

Take a look at

The cover gives you a flavour.


Friday, 30 December 2016

The Rainwater Harvester Working Again - Kingspan Envireau to the Tip

Apologies for the tedious rants about the fiendishly expensive but for us useless Kingspan Envireau rainwater harvesting system.   I should have started worrying when the enormous great underground tank arrived on a low loader - from Northern Ireland I think.   You see these absurd things on the motorways from time to time.   Our Kingspan Envireau 1000 gallon tank arrived on a day when Restoration Man were filming.   Indeed, the arrival of the rainwater system that day was one of the reasons the film crew were there.

We supposed, wrongly, that Kingspan Envireau would appreciate the potential free advertising - if not for their precise system but for the concept of rainwater harvesting and its benefits.

The Kingspan driver's face drained of colour when he saw the film crew.   "No filming" he shouted.  "Health and safety!"   I still puzzle about this surprising twist to the day.    Needless to say the film crew, like true professionals, kept on filming.   If the tank blew up or something dramatically unhealthy or unsafe happened they were NOT going to miss it.   Health and Safety is right up there with Data Protection as a general purpose admonition intended to scare the pants off the vulnerable and naive.   Tiger Aspect's crew were of sterner stuff,   They were there to make a TV programme, not to be cowed by a delivery driver.

Unsurprisingly the Kingspan Envireau rainwater harvesting system did not appear in either of our Restoration Man episodes.   Kingspan Envireau did however get an honourable mention on Channel 4's website as one of our suppliers, more's the pity.   Our project appeared on the Kingspan Envireau website - and it is still there.   It would be good if they would remove it now that their fiendish system has given us so much trouble.

Here is what replaces it.   No menu buttons and digital displays.   Just an analogue dial showing the pressure in the system and a light that comes on when the pump is actually in action.

 click to enlarge

With limited plumbing skills I fitted it all myself.   I could have hidden it away but as it is in the utility room already full of machinery it does not matter that it is prominently on show.   Furthermore the dial is at eye level.

The white bulge at the back is a pressure vessel which ensures that the pump does not activate every time a toilet is flushed but waits until the system pressure (4 Bars) falls below a certain level.

If the thing fails to work I can just replace it myself for 1/4 of the price of a Kingspan Envireau engineer's visit.

I feel quietly chuffed at the result.

Did I mention that I dislike Kingspan Envireau by the way?

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Alan Bennett on Settle Rotary Club

Among the pleasures of living in Settle is that you bump into national treasure Alan Bennett from time to time in the local shops and so forth.   It is comforting to know that famous people do mundane things too.

Pat bumped into AB in the check out queue at Booths supermarket recently and told him that the check-out lady had told her that she was taking AB's latest book on holiday with her to read.   "She'll need an excess baggage allowance" he replied.

Sure enough the book is 720 pages deep and covers his life between 2005 and 2015 via his diaries.   Bless, her, daughter Lorna got it for Pat as a Christmas gift.   She's already up to page 217 and our life is punctuated with giggles - often and inevitably relating to Settle.

Here is the entry for 5th July 2010:

" A child in Settle is said to have asked what the Mafia was and his grandfather said, 'It's like Settle Rotary Club, only with guns.'"

Mark Rand
(Past President Settle Rotary Club)

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Ass Whupped by a Ten ** Year Old

Meet grandsons Ben (left) and James today lunching at the Wildwood in Gerrards Cross after their post Christmas drive south from Settle.

click to enlarge

The boys have been a great source of pride and delight to us over Christmas when they have not been knocking seven shades of sherbert out of each other.

Here is a very useful present from them which I shall treasure for ever:

Among my Christmas highlights was a protracted game of cards with Ben (10 **).   Our family card game is 501, a devilish affair involving cunning, skill, memory and mathematics at which I have, naturally, excelled - until now.   After many many rounds Ben well and truly defeated me or Whupped My Ass* as his American father would say.

Ben also accompanied me as Deputy Junior Assistant On-Train-Guide on the 1146 from Settle northwards on Christmas Eve.

* ' To Whup ass' is a North American expression meaning to defeat resoundingly.   Not only are US Americans prone to colloquial indelicacy they cannot even spell arse correctly.

**  Since posting this entry my darling daughter Lorna has informed me that my grandson is not ten.   He is eight.   Why does NOBODY keep me up to date on these important things?

I distinctly remember Ben (8 it seems) telling me, on being asked, that he was ten.    This was while he was in the process of whupping my ass at cards so perhaps (quite possible) he was trying to lessen the blow of humiliating defeat.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Station Inn Mystery

click to enlarge

This curious image was captured on 15th December by our Ribblehead Viaduct web camera.   The camera is on the station master's house.   The Settle Carlisle railway lines are on the left and the Station Inn is at the bottom of the station drive.

Question is what is the enormous explosion-like fireball alongside that is lighting up the sky?   The Station Inn is still there in case you are wondering.

Suggestions please in the comments section below - if only to prove that somebody is really out there.

Happy Christmas.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Let it Snow

Well it isn't snowing in Settle this Christmas Eve but the weather is pretty awful.   Storm Barbara is blowing herself out and we await the next.   Yet it is mild, as Decembers go.

Maybe we are in for a mild winter when the absence of snow may disappoint.   Maybe not.

Here is a splendid compilation of winters past in and around Settle.   It lasts for 13 minutes or so and has a relaxing and seasonal piano sound track.    Sit down with whatever takes your fancy.  Full screen, relax and enjoy.

And remind yourself how winters were.

Winters long ago

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Google Knows Where You Are

Yesterday's post about the pie in the sky had a footnote of caution that many Blog followers may not know the whereabouts of Wigan (take off) and Low Bentham (landing).

So curiosity led me to a remote part of the Blog programme which shows who actually looks at it.   The statistics for THIS WEEK are below:

United States
United Kingdom
New Zealand

The top three are curious indeed.   Each is a nuclear power, disturbingly.   The UK is in third place.

Does the list really represent the proportions of worldwide interest in Settle Station Water Tower?   Or even water towers in general?   Possible I suppose but unlikely.

Maybe my occasional irreverences have put me on watch lists, eager to jump on suspicious keywords.

Well, to fans in The Pentagon, The Kremlin and GCHQ - 


For God's sake do not click to enlarge

Friday, 16 December 2016

Pie in The Sky

Blog readers in places like St Helena and Outer Mongolia, and I know you are out there, may have missed yesterday's local news story about the meat-and-potato pie which was sent into space from Wigan, Lancashire:

click to enlarge

It went up on a weather balloon yesterday at noon I think, rose 20 miles into space and landed in the village of Low Bentham, quite near Settle.   The on-board camera pictures were amazing.

It had been tracked using GPS and pie charts probably.

Since its epic journey the pie's value has increased to £3.14159

It's this sort of nonsense that makes Britain Great.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Two Bits of Good News

1.   Result from my CT scan - no cancer visible anywhere in the scanned area (chest and abdomen).

2.   Our rainwater harvesting system is now working on a simple pressure sensor and float switch.   Good riddance to the Kingspan Envireau three boxes of expensive tricks.

Not sure which gives me greater pleasure.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Just Singin' at the Train

We sing at the trains in Settle at Christmas.   And the trains sing back.

Click here to listen. The train sings back a 2m 36s

Some nice glimpses of the water tower in the background too.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Dutch Pictures from Four Years Ago

Previous post also refers.

Among the Dutch visitors in June 2012 was a keen photographer who kept clicking away.   The book about Dutch water towers was accompanied by a DVD containing 98 pictures of their visit to our water tower.   Besides being excellent photographs they serve as a splendid reminder of how far we have come in the last four years.   Here are just a few:

 click pics to enlarge
The incredible wooden jigsaw puzzle that turned into a navvy hut

 Portrait of bloke in hat

Very early stage of navvy hut reconstruction

 'Unsupported' staircase

 Main room looking trendy and new

Lots of glass, steel and stone

Dutch Water Towers

Way back in 2012 I had the pleasure of showing a group of Dutch visitors around the tower , a trip arranged by David Blackburn who knows a thing or two about water management from his days with the British Waterways Board.

They promised to send me, via David, and four years later a book about Dutch water towers and today it arrived:

Water towers are common features in Holland, it being such a flat country.   Some are amazingly
ornate too.  I leave it to the Dutch to explain:

Handreiking Een toekomst voor watertorens 

Watertorens zijn boodschappers uit ons verleden. Zij maken deel uit van onze geschiedenis en met hun rijzige gestalte bepalen ze mede de identiteit van een dorp of een stad. De maatschappelijke aandacht voor dit gebouwde erfgoed groeit. 
Steeds meer watertorens verliezen hun oorspronkelijke functie. Ze hebben vaak alleen toekomst als ze een nieuwe economische bestemming krijgen, bijvoorbeeld als woning of kantoor. Dat stelt geheel andere eisen aan het gebouw. Denk aan extra daglicht, sanitaire voorzieningen en meer leefcomfort. Met kennis van zaken kan dit soort veranderingen op een goede manier worden vormgegeven, met respect voor de cultuurhistorische en architectonische waarden van het monument. Juist de karakteristieke kwaliteiten kunnen de toren in zijn nieuwe functie meerwaarde bieden.
Beschermen van bijzondere monumentenDe Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed heeft de taak om bijzondere monumenten te beschermen. Wij adviseren over nieuwe mogelijkheden voor oude gebouwen. Het herbestemmen van monumenten is één
van de grote opgaven voor de komende jaren. Restauratie én transformatie staan centraal in het werk van de RCE. En zijn ze gestart met de uitgave van een serie brochures over het herbestemmen en ontwikkelen van monumenten.

Een (nieuwe) toekomst voor watertorensEen toekomst voor watertorens geeft in kort bestek weer wat er komt kijken bij een succesvolle herbestemming van een watertoren. U vindt hierin onder meer onze visie en toetsingscriteria rond de herbestemming.
Voor gemeenten, monumentencommissies en beleidsmakers biedt de brochure handvatten voor het ontwikkelen van stimulerend eigen monumentenbeleid.
InspiratieEigenaren, architecten, gemeenteambtenaren en ontwikkelaars vinden in de brochure veel inspirerende voorbeelden en praktische tips. Natuurlijk blijven er ook vragen onbeantwoord. De RCE wenst u veel inspiratie en succes bij het aanpassen van de monumenten waarvoor u een bijzondere verantwoordelijkheid draagt.

The Water Tower in 1959

Bishop Eric Treacy was the nation's foremost photographer of railways during the latter part of the steam era.   The picture below was taken by him in 1959 and there is the water tower, still then in operation, as was the coal yard.

click to enlarge

The picture shows a BR built Fairburn 2-6-4 tank No 42051 leaving Settle with an up local train.   The train standing on the down line may well be taking on water.

From The Best of Eric Treacy ISBN 1-85877-007-6

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Lit Up for Christmas

External lighting of water towers is a delicate issue.   A goodly number of our planning conditions related to it - especially as it is visible to train drivers who are easily confused apparently.

There are no guidelines about lighting water towers.

Our occasional attempts at a bit of external seasonal fun have drawn mixed responses, overwhelmingly appreciative, fortunately.

This year's Christmas illuminations are muted as these things go:

click to enlarge

Ho, ho, ho.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The Geest Truck Has Landed

My latest E-Bay find was a three wheeler railway platform truck - reported upon here previously.

Buying it was the easy bit.   Getting it here was the bigger problem.   Not as big a problem as the coal truck from Aviemore but still a problem.   It was way too big for my going-to-the-tip trailer and its was way up north near Newcastle.   The car transporter trailer was nearing completion so today was the agreed collection date.   The big trailer's first serious outing.

Well the big trailer passed with flying colours.   Here is the new truck on board the big trailer with Hadrian's Wall country in the background:

 click to enlarge

Pat is particularly taken with the colour of the tie down ratchet straps.

It was properly dark by the time we got back to Settle, the trailer having braved foul weather on the M6 in the Shap / Penrith / Tebay areas both ways.

The engine cowling was removed for the return journey.   Don't you think there is something of the Santa's sleigh about the ensemble?

Thursday, 1 December 2016

It's All Happening at this end of The Sidings

Our end of The Sidings industrial estate looked pretty dire before we bought the tower and work began to restore it.

Then the Stationside apartment block was built which gave the area another lift.

Now, industrial Unit E, which backs on to our navvy hut has been totally refurbished and, signage apart, is open and in business:

click to enlarge